Coordinate - Social Policy and Practice

Program Administrator

Fred Buttell, Social Work (Director)

Faculty Associates

Tom Langston, Political Science
Jonathan Pritchett, Economics
Loretta Pyles, Social Work
Enrique Varela, Psychology

Program Description

The multidisciplinary coordinate major in Social Policy & Practice introduces students to problems, policies, and methods in the social policy and welfare field through four core courses and additional elective coursework. This major must be coordinated with another major. The major is designed to encourage students to explore social policy interests prior to employment or graduate education. It also serves as an excellent pre-professional major for social work, the social sciences, education, law, public health, public policy, and related fields.

The program in Social Policy & Practice is designed to enable students a considerable degree of freedom in the choice of electives and to offer ample avenues for students interested in pursuing independent research and/or internship experiences. The program is particularly interested in encouraging the study of social problems related to living in an urban environment such as issues related to race, class, poverty, gender, social justice and the intersections among them. The program also encourages students to pursue study abroad opportunities. The option to write an honors thesis is available to students who qualify.

Minimum G.P.A. Requirement for Graduation

Students must achieve a 2.0 minimum G.P.A. in their core courses and a 2.0 minimum G.P.A. in their social science electives. Students who are concerned about their grade point average in the major should contact the Undergraduate Advisor.

Careers and Employment

Social Policy & Practice graduates often find that they have many career options because their academic backgrounds are broad and they have developed the writing, critical thinking, and interpersonal skills that are highly valued by employers in a wide variety of settings. Students in the major are well prepared for entering the fields of social work, education, public policy, public health, law, medicine, business, and any other field that values a solid liberal arts education.


Four prerequisites must be completed with a minimum letter grade of C in order to enroll in SOWK 200 Introduction to Social Policy & Practice (3 credits), the first Social Policy & Practice core course and to declare the major. This applies to courses taken at Tulane University or equivalent courses taken at other institutions.

(30 Credits -- At least 10 courses)

Core Classes (2 courses, 6 credits)

Social Policy & Practice majors are required to complete two core courses:

Additional Information

Each core course is offered every Fall and Spring semester. Students accepted to the major will be assigned a specific schedule to start the core courses with the gateway course – SOWK 200 -- when their declaration is processed.

The two social work courses “bookend” the major. The first course students take, upon being admitted into the major, is SOWK 200 Introduction to Social Policy & Practice and the final course students take is SOWK 400 Community Organizing for Social Change: Theories and Methods.

Concentration in a Major Social or Behavioral Science (2 courses, 6 credits)

All social policy majors must concentrate in one of three major behavioral science departments: Political Science, Economics, or Sociology. Majors are required to take two approved electives in their concentration department. Refer to the list below for approved concentration electives.


Political Science:


Additional Electives (At least 6 courses, 18 credits)

In addition to the two courses that form the Concentration, Social Policy & Practice majors must take at least six more approved electives. Two of the six courses may simultaneously fulfill primary or other major and/or minor requirements. Importantly, only 2 of the 6 electives can be taken at the 100 level. The remainder of the electives must be taken at the 200 level or above.

In addition to courses listed above, for the concentrations that lie outside of the student’s chosen concentration, the following is a list of additional approved electives organized by discipline. It is important to note that some of these courses have prerequisites. Students should consult the course catalog prior to registering to ensure that they have met any department-specific prerequisites.


Political Science:


Social Work:


Graduate Level Social Work courses

Priority for enrollment in graduate level social welfare courses is reserved for graduate students, but instructors will often consider undergraduates for enrollment when space is available. The instructor has total discretion in determining the suitability of the undergraduate for enrollment in a graduate course. The list of courses that will consider undergraduate enrollment is available in the Program Director’s office.